|Acad. Kiril Bratanov – the patron of the Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
“For the values which left to the young generation,
to his followers and students,
for the scientific heritage and the name of the institute which makes us feel proud,
for the warmth that left
вin our hearts – deep gratitude!”
Kiril Tzachev Bratanov was born on March 5th 1911 in Lukovit, Bulgaria and grew up in a family of teachers which turned out to be of great importance his formation as a harmonic person. In this teachers family two bvrothers of Kiril were brought up – Dimitar, wel established public figure and diplomat, Bratan – distinguished professor in pediatry. After graduating Faculty of Veterenary Medicine in Sofia (1935) and actively working as a veterinary doctor, Kiril Bratanov successfully applied and carried out a specialization in animal breeding in Bucurest, Romania (1941) and a post-grasdute trainining in reproductive biology and artificial insemination in Milan, Italy (1941). At thatv time K.Bratanov has shown himself as an ambitious researcher with deep interests in current problems of stock breeding such as artificial insemination and reproductive capacities of the animals. His talant as a teacher urged him to start his teaching acitivities as assistant professor at the Department of physiology and biochemistry of the farm animals at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine of the Sofia Universit. His further career followed promotion to associate professor (1947), full professor (1954) and head of the Department of Obstetrics and artificial insemination at the Faculty of Zootechniques, The Higher Agricultural Institute “G.Dimitrov”, Sofia. In 1958 K.Bratanov was elelcted as an associate member of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and in 1967 as a real member of the academy.
However, the profesional interests of K.Bratanov were truly realized after 1943 when he was appointed as the director of the Institute of breeding diseases and artificial insemination founded in 1938. K.Bratanov was standing director of this institute till the end of his days. Under his directorship the Institute achieved significant successes in both basic and applied science. Mainly due to his irresistable temperament and aspiration for public activities he combines successfully the research and teaching activities with the high positions as the Rector of the Higher Agriculture Institute (1956-1967), Deputy president of the Academy of Agricultural Sciences (1962-1982), Director of the Center of Biology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences (1976 – 1986). In 1976 the Institute of breeding diseases and artificial insemination is trransferred to the structure of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and is named Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction (IBIR). Because of the undisreputable services of prof.K.Bratanov for the progress, prosperity and the international standing of the Institute after his demise in 1987 it was decided the the institute to be named INSTITUTE OF BIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY OF REPRODUCTION “acad.K.Bratanov”.
Describing the scientific achievement of acad.K.Bratanov should be started with his numerous publications consisting of more than 1000 papers. He is the author or co-author of multiple scientific monographs, textbooks and practical manuals, more than 300 research papers, more than 500 publications related to the development of the agriculture, to scientific and cultutral politics in Bulgaria and more than 200 analytical and review paper all of which are presented in his “Biobibliography”.
It is not easy in a short presentation to discuss the multiple creative and public activities of acd.Bratanov. It is not easy to relay his enthusiasm and work devoted to the science and scientists. However, with each attempt to dissect and characterize his long fruitful life one word comes to the mind and its a pioneer.
Acad.K.Bratanov is one of the founders and organizers of the necessary personnel, technical and scientific basis for the implementation of one of the most revolutionary technologies of the 20th century – the artificial insemination with the view to improve genetically and organizationally the stock breeding in Bulgaria. Under his guidance complex elaborate technologies are created for cryoconservation of male gametes from various animal species which we implemented and lead to high economic effect in the whole country. A bank is set up for conservation of gametes from valuable breeders and embryo-cryobank for storage of genetic material from animal breeds endangered from extinction in Bulgaria.
Under the guidance of acad.K.Bratanov scientists from this Institute obtain original results about the hypothalamic-pineal control of the ovarian function, concerning secretion of gonadotropins, mechanisms of neuroendocrine regulation of the sexual cycle and ovulation. On the basis of these results efficient biotechnologies for identification of the reproductive process are developed which are widely applied in stockbreeding bringing significant economic results.
Another aspect of the pioneer activities of acad. K.Bratanov must not be missed and this is that under his guidance for the first in our country the transfer of bothfresh and/or frozen-thawed embryos in fram animals was done and lead to the birth of healthy progeny. For the first time in Europe and second in the worls a team under the guidance of acad.K.Bratanov successfully transferred embryo in buffalos to obtain buffalo-calves.
One of the most ground braking achievements in the scientific work of ascad.Bratanov is the study carried out in 1949 which shoed the presence of antibodies against male gametes in sera of animals which have been unsuccessfully inseminated. These results were published in a paper entitled “On the formation of sperm antibodies in the organisms of farm animals”(Yearly book of the Vet med.faculty, SU, t.XXVI, 321-334, 1949). These are the first results in the world science and practice showing the possibility that immune-mediated infertility might one form of infertility. Due to the following studies of Bratanov and his team this problem turns to be very important and someyears later two independent papers on the same topic were published ((Rumke, 1954, Wilson, 1954) which described the presence of sperm autoantibodies in infertile men with oligo- and azzospermia and isoantibodies against sperm in infertile women. Today the scientific achievements in this field are discussed at a number of world and international congresses and in a number of papers published in peer-view scientific journals while Bulgaria is recognized as the motherland of the new biomedicine field in the world science and clinical parctice – Immunology of Reproduction.
Later on acad.Bratanov and his co-workers organized successfully the First Symposium of immunology of spermatozoa and fertilization carried out on September 26 – 29, 1967 at ISH “J.Currie”, Varna, Bulgaria. This was the first scientific event on this topic in the world. More than 150 participants from 23 different countries attend this meetingas well as representatives of WHO and FAO. Some world known scientists such as R.Edwards, Ph.Rumke, S.Izojima, A.G.Voisin, M.Hashek, B.Boetcher, I.Sokolovskaya, R.Popivanov, S.Shulman are present at this symposium. Reports delivered contain a multitude of new interesting data in the field of reproductive immunology. During the days of the First Symposium on the initiative of acad.Bratanov the International Coordination committee of Immunology of Reproduction (ICCIR) is founded with headquaters and registered in Sofia and Paris as the headquaters is in the Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction headed by acad. Bratanov. President of the ICCIR is elected K.Bratanov, vice president – S.Shulman, General secretary – R.Edwards, secretary – I.Sokolovskaya, Cashier – A.Eiquem. After the demise of acad K.Bratanov as president of the ICCIR is elected prof. R.Georgieva. The major aim of the ICCIR is to coordinate the research of reproductive immunology and to organize International symposia in Varna at three years intervals. Thus the traditon of the Varna Symposia was established which are well known among the people working in the field of reproductive immunology. The next 13th International Symposium of Immunology of Reproduction will be held on June 22-24th 2012 in Varna, Bulgaria.
It should be pointed out the prof. Rober Edwards, one of the founders of the ICCIR and it first general secretry was awarded the Nobel Price for Medicine and Physiology in 2010 “For the development of in vitro fertilization”.During the symposium organized in the honor of Robert Edwards and his Nobel Price, held in the Royal Caroline Medical Institute in Stockholm on December 7th 2010, Martin Johnson delivered a lecture entitled „Bob Edwards and IVF : The Early Days”. In his lecture Edwards stress out the significance of reproductive immunology, the foundation of the International Coordination Committee of Immunology of Reproduction in Varna showing a picture of the constitutive session at the Symposium with a photo of acad K.Bratanov as an evidence for their collaboration with the Institute of Biology and Immunology of Reproduction and his close personal connections with acad.Bratanov as early as 1967.
Once again on the intitative of acad. Bratanov in 1975 during the days of the 3rd International Symposium of Immunology of Reproduction in Varna the International Association fof Immunology of Reproduction was founded and acad.K.Bratanov was elected as its first president. Today the Association has numerous members and scietists from our Institute participate at all its congresses and scientists from IBIR (prof.R.Georgieva) are standing members of the ruling body of the Association.
Particular attention should be paid to the active public activities of acd. K.Bratanov. In the course of eight years he was the President of the Society for dissemination of knowledge “G.Kirkov” (1968-1976); he was elected as a member opf the National Committee for Peace (1948); member of the Standing Committee of the Pugwash conferences of science and world affairs (1968); actively participated in the working groups of UNESCO and the World Health Organization; Vice president of the Academy of agricutural sciences (1963-1972).
The result of his close contacts with many highly esteemed scientis if his memorial book “Unfrorgetable meetings” which described his contacts and talks with scientists as Frederick Joliot-Currie, prof. John Bernal, acad. Skrybin, acad.Oparin, prof.Pier Bikar and others. Similarly he wroete many protraits of some well known Bulgarin scientists and public figures such as prof.Assen Zlatarov, prof. Georgi Pavlov, prof. Georgi Nadjakov, the writer and scientist prof.Dimitar Dimov, acad.Hristo Daskalov and others. For his active scientific and public work acad K.Bratanov was awarded with high naqtional awards among them “Kiril and Metodii”order, honoured title “People’s of Science” “1300 of Bulgaria state foundation”medal and others.
The brighets example of the capacity of acd. Bratanov to appreciate global questions of society and science is his place in the history of the Unioon of Scientists in Bulgaria. Bratanov is not only founding member (1944) but also a memberd of the governning board from the very first moments of the organization functioning. He is the first secretary upto 1948, general secretary of the union till 1961 and its President till his death. Under the guidance of acad.Bratanov, the Union of Scientists in Bulgaria (USB) not only increased its power and status but acquire a solid international prestige. In 1948 the USB joined the World Federation of Scientis and Bratanov was elected as a member of its Executive Committee and later was elected as its Vice-president.
Bratanov I a member of the editorial board of the jounal “Scientific World” an organ of the USB where he published many papers discussing the scientific and cultural politics in Bulgaria and the world, the problems of higher education, the specifics of scietific work. On the initiative of acad.Bratanov and his active participation the his “F.Jolio-Currie” was built up and developed as an active international congress center. The activities of USB were more massive and regional centers were created all over the country.
An expression of the international recognition of the achievements of acad Bratanov were the multiple medal and awards that he received (French medal “Brige”for achievements in science, “lazaro Splancani”medal, honoured medal of the Spanish Veterinary medicine academy, a medal from Illinois Universit, USA, “J.Currie”medal fronm the Worl Committee for peace and others). Acad Bratanov was elected as an honoured member of a number of foreign academies of sciences such as French Veterinary Academy, Italian Agrarian Academy, German Agricultural Academy, Spanish Veterinary Medicine Academy, Belgian Royal Medical Academy. In 1980 acad Bratanov was awarded the highest award of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, France “Luis Pasteur”medal for his achievements in the field or reproductive immunology.
Associate-professor Margarita Mollova, Phd
L. Ermenkova, M. Mollova
Acad. Kiril Bratanov “Biobibliography”, BAS, Sofia, 1984, pp.297